Thursday, May 12, 2016

Grass & Concrete

There is a small outdoor bar near the Brooklyn Bridge shut in a little grove of trees and shrubbery with only pockets of sky and river and bridge and city to peer in like voyeuristic neighbors from a distance. The green encapsulates and invigorates while the dusty brown of long-spent brick and mortar stares at you and reminds you that you are in New York and not some other place with sandy beaches.

The booze is too much and the food even more so, but I can kind of see why some would pay such unseemly prices to have lunch here--the place is set up like a beach-side cabana in some British or French-owned colony from the 1800's still populated by dark-skinned natives. It's a bit other worldly--if you stay long enough to go blind to the inane New York squabble from tourists, locals and babies, not to mention the shouting of class-trip children who march endlessly South past the bar towards the higher Piers and then back again an hour later, still squabbling and screeching but with less energy, having been filled with chea ready-made sandwiches of PB&J, egg salad or chicken salad, or maybe makeshift burritos filled with brown rice and pinto beans. Who knows? I don't make lunches for grade school kids.

The whole of Brooklyn Bridge Park is laid out over 1.3 miles of river side, but really grass only inhabits the first third--the rest is mostly concrete and pretends to make sense in a beach-community kind of way if someone who was born in the middle of the Bronx was to describe a two-home island off the shores of Nantucket during a fever dream. Most of what I assumed were water features, including a closed boat ramp and a swirling water area I forgot to write down but essentially looked like a closed, windy boat ramp, seemed to be untouched since the year prior and most of the trees were too young to be of any good for shade. However, despite it's clear lack of understanding of whatever it was going for, Brooklyn Bridge Park still manages to have a few moments of the surreal honesty that a lot of new York parks seem to pull of. It is a weird sensation that starts with the thought "only in New York," as a detriment, the aforementioned boat ramp and spiral boat ramp being obvious notes toward this idea. Namely only a New Yorker would think that someone would launch a boat there. Only a New Yorker would fence in a lawn on a manufactured hill that runs for 200 yards and have one entrance on one side and expect no one to hop the wire fence, and only a New Yorker would not hop the fence when that gate over there is clearly open. But over time, and the further I got away from actual trees in favor of marsh-grass and concrete tide pools and is that supposed to be a beach? it started to feel more legitimate, more proper, more like a fenced in beach that just needed time to grow into its new shoes. You've got to give this stuff time, Wes. Relax a little.

Suddenly someone puts music on and though it doesn't ruin the mood, we could do with something more timeless than whatever it is, something sweet and quiet and uneccesary but I get it--any music will help keep the bubble going, keeping the place to it's own even when the sky gets dark and the tiny bulbs strung across the patio wink on and shed their orange glow.

The guy who I assume is the proprietor is a gruff, sunglasses-indoor kind of guy with an Irish cap and gym shorts and high socks in running shoes and despite his toolish exterior I have to commend him--if he's owned this place more than 12 days he knows what he's got here and hopefully won't fuck with it too much. Part of me wishes he was twenty years older and wearing a straw hat with a white suit jacket , drinking endless mojitos at the end of a nonexistent bar but the other part of me know that would ruin it--it's as if I like that this place has an other-worldly vibe but doesn't try too hard to pin down whatever world that is. No straw on the tables, no giant margarita bowls, nothing served in coconuts. It is already perfect without these things--no pretentions and no need for concrete whirlpools. It is the precise place to get a drink on a quiet Thursday afternoon while your legs rest, a breeze wafts in from down river and the problems you've had over the last few days feel mostly out of sight, over there on the other side of that little grove of trees.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Jimmy Cliff Ain't Got Nuthin on Me

There is an apartment a block away (or is it two? I'll have to check) that can probably see into my room right now. My windows are huge in this apartment, all the windows are except the bathroom's, and I wonder if it's so you can get out of them if there is a fire or if it's a carry-over from the days before plastic and the windows had to be bigger...for some reason? No. That doesn't make any sense. Perhaps it was the style of apartments at the time (1920's? 30's? I forget. I think 30's. So far I'm batting about 0.000 for knowledge about anything around me) but the point is this: these windows are huge, and you can see through them.

The windows in that other apartment building are bigger, though, and holy hell that building is like 4 or five stories higher than me right now (I'm on the second story) and if they wanted to on this dreary Saturday morning, someone could walk right up to their window over there, remove the elephantine curtains they must have, sip their coffee and look through binoculars and probably watch me talking to all of you over there. Makes me think if anyone ever saw me having sex. The answer is "No" there, buy the way. I don't leave my "drapes" open for potential voyeurs. In case you were wondering.

There are videos taken with cameras with crazy lenses on the internet where people are zoomed in on some innocuous thing--a guy mowing his lawn, a couple on a bench, some boat on a canal--and then they zoom out and you find that the person with the camera is like half a city away looking down from a high building or hill, spying on this other persons doldrums and completely aware that they are going to put the video up on line, people are going to view that, and then that person is going show other people, and then there is the potential for millions of persons looking through several screens and time and place to watch some guy picking his nose and reading a book too blurry to read.

This makes me think of what I can see, and share with others, and my first thought is that I live across from a pre-school, which is closed (it's Saturday, again, for those of you who aren't paying any attention), they have a fenced-in playground that just got new wood-chips (the truck woke me up trying to park the day before yesterday) and all the cars are smattered with what must have been an early morning rainfall as they look slightly wetter than they did when I got home last night (1am) but too dry to have had significant rain in the last 2 hours.

Which reminds me, this week has been hard for people who like the sun and the light it brings to warm your face or heart or existence. It has been a low, grey, wormy kind of week and it's been hard to get up every morning knowing that though the weather is starting to finally warm-the-fuck-up we're still dealing with cool nights, wet afternoons, and just low, ready-to-burst cluds that make going outside without an umbrella a treacherous plan. I plan on doing that today, though. Because reasons. Also my friend is coming by. But also because I need to get out and move, look at and listen to strangers, look at the world again and see it from a new perspective.  Because listen: I'm kind of a doom-and-gloom kinda guy. I am not always glass-half-full. In fact, I rarely am. But I do understand the strength of perception, and I do understand the depth or perspective. I know things will get better. I know they can get worse. I know that life makes you eat shit, and I know that sometimes you still come out on top. But to me, what becomes important the more I see it and the more I'm aware of it, is that perspective and perception are related and that what you see and how you see it now isn't always how you'll see it in the future, or even exist as the same thing. I guess my point is that that person over there who can look down into my apartment may never een notice they can, and if they do, they might not write a blog about it.

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